A Visual Guide to Spotting Counterfeit Money



Money makes the world go around — but if you use fake currency by mistake, it’s likely to put a sudden stop to your day. It’s easy for a shopkeeper to accidentally pass you a fake banknote without you noticing. When you try to pass it on, you realise you’ve been ripped off. How can you prevent it happening in the first place?

It’s easy to spot counterfeit money once you know how. All British banknotes and American banknotes over $5 come with a security thread that remains dark when held against the light. If the texture of the note feels funny when you take it, have a closer look to make sure it’s genuine.

With coins, it’s all about the ridges. They should be even and regularly spaced. The ridges were originally added to make it difficult for criminals to file off precious metal from the edges and still be able to use the coins. Today, they mean it takes a lot more work to create a convincing fake.

We’ve created a new infographic that provides simple visual cues to help you figure out whether a suspect note or coin is indeed counterfeit. Take good note of the details, and don’t forget to look at the change you’re given in the shop.

Experts reckon it takes 12 people to produce a banknote. Stay vigilant and it will just take one person to prevent you becoming a victim: yourself!



Econmenrot. Counterfeit Money. econmentor.com
Bank of England (2016). Take a closer look: your easy to follow guide to checking your banknotes. bankofengland.co.uk.
The Royal Mint (2017). £1 counterfeit coins. royalmint.com
US currency education program (2017). The Seven Denominations. uscurrency.gov.
United States Mint (2017). Circulating Coins. usmint.gov.
A&E Television Networks (2017). Why do coins have ridges? history.com
Franklin, J. (2016). ‘Counterfeiting is an art’: Peruvian gang of master fabricators churns out $100 bills. theguardian.com

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Jennifer G. is a Social Media Associate at Enova International, Inc., and is interested in finding new and creative ways to be financially savvy.

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The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.